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  The Horseshoe
    The Horseshoe was a company position that had been established by 5 RAR early in 1967 on a crescent shaped hill just north of the village of Dat Do approximately 8000 metres south-east of the task force base at Nui Dat (see map).

When Victor Company arrived in Vietnam on 13th May 1967 it came under command of 6 RAR, and on 27th May Victor relieved A Company 6 RAR at the Horseshoe.

A few days later 2 RAR arrived in Nui Dat to relieve 6 RAR.

Whilst on the Horseshoe V Company came under direct command of the task force, and at various times had artillery, mortars, engineers and armoured personnel in support.

Because of its location the Horseshoe position could dominate the approaches to the village of Dat Do, and others on Route 44, and therefore provided some security to the villagers against VC attack.

It was also supposed to help secure the barbed wire fence and minefield which had been built by the task force from the Horseshoe south to the sea and parallel to Route 44. However this fence and mine obstacle was of dubious tactical and operational value, and in effect the Horseshoe position had no measurable control over most of its length, particularly at night. This siting of this particular obstacle violated all the established principles.

From the Horseshoe we would occasionally see dogs running through the minefield setting off mines, without harm to themselves if they ran fast enough. By night the Viet Cong were able to lift mines from the field, and then used them to mine other areas where Australian and New Zealand troops were likely to patrol.

Some of us viewed this wire and mine obstacle as a monumental folly.

At times the Horseshoe position also served as a forward fire support base for field and medium artillery to support operations at a distance from the task force base.

V Company remained on the Horseshoe until 3rd July 1967, and throughout this time effectively built the position from a rudimentary defended position to a fully dug-in and bunkered fortified base. It was hard work, as the small hill appeared to be the cone of an extinct volcano, and it was solid rock. There was no shade at all on that rock, and after digging into it for nearly six weeks we were glad to leave.

On being relieved by A Company 2 RAR on 3rd July, V Company returned to the task force base at Nui Dat, and then came under command of 2 RAR.

The company returned to occupy the Horseshoe again from 26th October to 12th November 1967, when it was relieved on the Horseshoe by the second Victor Company (V2), as it arrived in theatre.


"Further to the Horseshoe narrative, as soon as V Coy moved out the Aussies moved in heavy plant to do the digging for their troops. Supposedly not available for ours....also after we begged and stole the materials for V Coy lines, mostly from the Yanks,  2RAR tried to move A Coy into them. Many strong words were exchanged before they went away and left us alone.
ronem@voyager.co.nz (Ron Moroney)"

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